Tips on Painting Pebbledash. There is an easier way

If you have ever tried to paint over a pebbledashed wall, or are considering painting some pebbledash,  we have some tips and advice for the average DIY enthusiast and the tradesman too..

What are your options? Is there an easy way to paint a house with pebbledash?

One major issue with trying to paint a pebbledashed house is the fact that this particular kind of wall coating is not really designed to be painted.

The stones themselves are supposed to be weatherproof and decorative, although many others would argue against that.

Is it time to paint your pebble dashed house?

Hold on a second, before you go and buy the paint, you had better read this.

Be prepared for long, difficult job, and ending up with a potentially poor finish if you plan on painting some pebbledashed walls yourself.

Pebbledashed homes started to appear around the housing boom of the early 20th century, where poor quality bricks were covered up and weatherproofed, but painting the pebbledash was never even thought of.

The trouble with pebbledash and other heavily textured wall coverings is the fact that because the surface of the wall has the sharp stones and various undulations and pits, painting it, with a brush or roller, is fraught with difficulty and problems.

What you end up with may not be what you had first imagined!

Some (but not many) homes built back in the 1930s and 1940s actually had a very good quality coating of pebbledash. Many still have their original wall covering.

However, over time the stones fall out, and cracks do appear.

Most modern built houses now have an alternative, cheaper quality form of pebbledash and that is known as spar dash. This is essentially flint chippings rather than actual pebbles.

freshly painted pebbledash houses by the coast

Remember, once you paint pebbledash, you are committed to repainting every 2 or 3 years best case scenario.

Painting your own pebbledash: is it worth it?

First off, get the job into perspective.

If you really want to paint the pebbledash yourself and not employ a painting contractor to do the job, then being honest and reliastic, you should expect it to be a tough project. It is not easy.

The more confident DIY’er may think it’s a piece of cake to paint a pebbledashed wall but many are soon proved wrong.

If you really do want to give it a go, first off make a plan, just one side of A4 paper.

Mark any problems with the wall that you know about such as hollow rendering or cracks, that is, if you know how to fix them of course. Also, mark any areas that concern you, especially as regards to the height you will be working at.

Remember you can’t paint over cracks. Masonry paint is not a filler, it will not fill cracks.

If you paint over cracks in pebbledash, once the paint has dried, you will see the crack appear before long, possibly allowing water in behind the pebbledash, which will cause more cracks, and eventually damp inside your house.

Most of us live in a 2 story house, so once again, if ladders or scaffolding frighten you, or you are especially accident prone, it is best you probably should abandon your plan now.

If you’re fully committed to the project, here are our tips for how best to paint your pebbledash.

 1. Clean the walls of dust, moss and debris with a power washer.

man cleaning a pebbledash wall ready for painting

Make sure all doors and windows are closed during this time and keep pets away.

Wear waterproof clothing and eye protection as small flakes of paint can be shot into your eyes from the force of the water jet.

For the advanced DIY’er, you can augment this action with a fungicidal wash. But, be sure to wear extra protection for this.

Any paint left over can be removed in most cases with a scraper or wire brush.

Tidy all the debris away, especially if its windy, as the dust and paint chips can be blown back onto the wall. If that happens, later that day the wet paint that you have just taken blood sweat and (nearly) tears to apply, will be ruined.

2. Identify any areas of concern with the exterior walls

Do you have any damp in the house?

Damp in the home is likely caused by water getting into porous wall when the wall has cracks, and of course, from outside.

Masonry paint will not cure it. Neither will a “quick lick of paint” on wall cracks.

If your walls have defects like this, call in someone who knows how to fix this type of thing or you could be wasting your money watching paint dry.

Literally.

watching paint dry

You cannot successfully paint a wall that has hollow render or loose pebbledash either, so if this is the case, you need to get someone in to repair the cracked render before you do anything else.

Cracks in pebbledashed walls require cutting out with an angle grinder, debris from the crack removed, the sides of the crack painted with a mix of unibond and water, and then they need to be filled.

The crack should be filled with a good mortar mix, but unlike rendered walls, do not smooth it out to a flat finish as you would if you were repairing a smooth rendered wall.

The wall around the crack will not be smooth.  So, you need to recreate, as best as you can, the texture of the wall, so it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb once it’s painted.

Stipple a damp paint brush over the repaired crack to recreate some of the textured profile of the wall and to “feather in” the old and new wall surfaces.

Then, you need to use a tyrolean gun to recreate the heavy texture on the wall, which if done right, will hide the repairs once paint is applied.

 3. Pace yourself – Rome wasn’t built a day, and neither was your house

If you are not used to this type of work, its hard and physical so pace yourself and do one wall at a time.

Never go outside your comfort zone when working outside, especially up a ladder. Many people end up in hospital as they do not know how to use a ladder safely!

Make sure you also put plenty of dust sheets on the floor too, and cover the windows with tape and paper. This will save a lot of time cleaning up at the end of the job.

Watch the backs of your hands on the rough stones when painting or working on this type of walls. Some of the sharper stones can take the skin off the backs of your hands and knuckles and believe me from experience, it hurts!

Working on your own, especially at height, is not recommended. If you can, get someone to help you and hold ladders, clean paint brushes etc. The more the merrier.

house painters putting up scaffolding to repair and paint a pebbledash wall

 4. Getting started to paint pebbledash

Safety first! Make sure the area is clear of cars, pets and kids. Ensure you cannot be distracted by anything or anyone as you need to concentrate to do this correctly.

Get all the tools, brushes, rollers and paint that you think you need.

Test the paint on a ground floor area beforehand, then start at the top.

A half painted house (always the lower half) is a sure sign of an abandoned DIY paint project!

 5. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!

If you are painting onto unpainted pebbledash, the 1st coat of paint will be sucked into the house through the porosity of the walls like a sponge.

Use this first coat of paint as a primer. We’re sorry to tell you, you will have to paint it twice.

In some cases, dousing the wall with a watery mix of Unibond PVA and water before you paint, and then allowing to dry, will help to alleviate the suction action.

Our house painting teams use a special primer when painting pebbledash, which is a mixture of sand and cement, with the addition of unibond PVA and water. This is mixed to a creamy consistency, and then applied directly to the wall with large head brushes.

6. Is there a method to this madness?

Yes. Work methodically. Use a brush to cut in on edges and around windows and a roller for the main area of wall.

Use a thick knap roller and a paint scuttle, which is like a deep, oblong bucket to put the paint in as this is the best for a heavily textured surface.

Some of the stones or pebbles will come off whilst you are doing this, so be aware of that.

Staying with the examples of pebbledash painting on this page, here we can see the same house but with a primer coating added to the wall.

You can see how the wall has “sucked in” the paint, telling you very clearly that always two coats of paint are needed with pebbledash.

Liskeard-house-having-work-done

7. Check the weather report before planning to paint outside

Normal masonry paint needs a dry day, so if rain is forecast, it’s down to the pub until tomorrow for you!

Painting a pebbledash house yourself is very hard, beset with problems, and will take ages as you can probably see by what you have read so far.

I’m not trying to scare you into employing us to do the job, I am just being brutally honest with how hard a job this is.

The patches of missing pebbles, and maybe any alterations to the walls will show through more than ever now paint is on the wall. I’m sorry to say this is probably the best quality (I use that word with caution) that you will get by painting your own pebbledashed walls.

An easier way to paint pebbledash is by a spray machine, applying a heavily textured exterior wall coating

Painting your house, if the walls have pebbledash is thankless, hard work, possibly dangerous, and the end result will look less than pleasing.

In addition, doing it yourself can take weeks, especially if it is to be fitted around your career. And finally, once it is painted, uh-oh, it is going to have to be painted again next year or the year after!

The other way is to employ our house painting teams, who have been repairing and painting dashed, rough cast and tyrolean homes since the 1980s.

How Never Paint Again go about painting pebble dash

The first thing we do is to fully check the walls for defects and problems, all of which are then professionally repaired, meeting BS standards.

Any areas of baldness where the stones have fallen off are reinstated, meaning that when the special paint is applied, the entire wall has a uniform look and finish to it.

Then we mask up the house and hand apply a latex modified slurry render which is known as bagging or bag rubbing. Our team then apply a primer coating to the walls, which is an off-white colour, again, in the image we showed you earlier.

We then spray a textured masonry coating to the upper parts of the house.

The coatings are guaranteed for 20 years not to fade, flake, crack or peel. They also stop damp.

The whole process from start to finish, takes us just a few days. But you trying to paint your pebbledash, could take months!

And here’s what a house with painted Pebble-dash looks like!

Compare it to the neighbour’s house to see what a difference having pebbledash painted can make.

It’s much brighter, looks clean and fresh and very welcoming.

End-terrace-in-lsikeard-cornwall-with-new-wall-coating

This house was located in Liskeard, Cornwall.

We spray applied a Wethertex wall coating which lasts for 20 years and comes with a full guarantee.

Don’t “dash” off down to B&Q just yet though (haha), we have put together a few pointers for you.

You can now make an informed decision as to whether you want to attempt to paint your dashed wall, or if you want someone like Never Paint Again to quote you for their pebbledash coating system.

To find out more about having your pebble dash painted with our revolutionary dash wall painting system then give us a call on 0800 970 4928. All quotes are free.

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